With an upgrade to its outdated equipment years away, Santa Clara County officials suggested Wednesday taking steps now to remedy the beleaguered election system from malfunctions encountered in past elections. At a special committee meeting on Wednesday, supervisors Joe Simitian and Ken Yeager said the Registrar of Voter’s Office should look into providing staff 24-hours around the clock during the election period to speed up notoriously slow ballot counting and improve communications with the public — a situation that left voters confused and wary about the status of recounts. They also suggested developing a system that would require an automatic recount when races come down to the wire. “We’re all of the same mind that we’ve got to see some real progress,” said Simitian. “We can’t be having this same conversation every two years.”
The meeting was called after last year’s election season saw ballot misprints before the vote, election night website failures and lagging election results — nearly the slowest in the state. There also was confusion at the time as to whether a recount would be called in the big race for San Jose mayor.
Though still in the early stages, the supervisors hope to get ideas in motion to remedy the problems by 2016.
Registrar of Voters Shannon Bushey said that her office has had the same management structure for the past decade, “despite radical changes to the way that elections are conducted,” and is asking for funding for four administrative positions that would “identify root causes of errors.”